UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with political donors, including one from Russia, the night before the invasion of Ukraine, as per the New York Post. 

Johnson delivered a speech at the London Conservative Party fundraising dinner, which took place on February 23. There, he told donors he had to leave early to address Russia’s invasion, according to The Sunday Times. Hours after that troops moved into Ukraine. 

There were nearly 75 people at the occasion, including Britain’s defence secretary and Lubov Chernukhin, wife of the former deputy finance minister of Russia, The Sunday Times reported.

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Notably, Chernukhin, now a British national has condemned Russia’s war. Chernukhin earlier donated around $2.6 million to the party and an additional $210,000 to play tennis with the 57-year-old Johnson. 

A spokesperson told the newspaper “The prime minister briefly attended this event which was a longstanding diary engagement”, and added, “Fundraising is a legitimate part of our democratic process and it is not unusual for the prime minister, or any political leader, to attend such an event”. 

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Since Russia began its invasion, PM Johnson has been very vocal in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin. He’s also swiftly brought down sanctions on Russian individuals, a move meant to make oligarchs speak out against the war. 

Johnson was also quick to label Russian actions in Ukraine a war crime, following such claims made by President Volodymyr Zelensky, the leader of the besieged nation. 

Before the war began, the British PM was embattled and facing a possible vote of no confidence over a string of parties that took place at Downing Street, while the UK was in lockdown. Scotland Yard was investigating the matter as well, and an internal investigation, which culminated in the Gray Report, too, found PM Johnson guilty of attending some of these parties.